March 24, 2016

"Certainly, it takes fearlessness to begin a Broadway musical emerging nearly nude from a tanning bed."

Ugh. What passes for courage in the narrow canyons of Manhattan.

ADDED: Nudity on Broadway was a thing back in the 60s when "Hair" happened. How could it possibly amount to anything like bravery 50 years later? It seems utterly pathetic to drum up interest in a show by pointing out that someone gets naked. And it's only "nearly" naked.

40 comments:

madAsHell said...

I skimmed through the article, but it appears that someone has made a musical from "American Psycho". How many Sweeney Todd musicals do we need?

readering said...

One thing to walk on stage wrapped in a towel. Another thing to start every show singing that way.

coupe said...
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Rhythm and Balls said...

Nudity on Broadway was a thing back in the 60s when "Hair" happened. How could it possibly amount to anything like bravery 60 years later?

Eight years of Reagan and all that came since.

Ugh. What passes for courage in the narrow canyons of Manhattan.

Braver than in Wisconsin.

But then, it wouldn't be nice to assume the same level of body comfort of those who inhabit the land of cheese and human blubber.

tim in vermont said...

You know what's sad R&B, you have to live in that brain with all that hatred for others that you wrap up as an elevated sensibility.

You know why Archie was a bigot? Because it made him feel good, it gave him a little frisson of superiority every time he said something bigoted, he felt elevated, better than the people he put down. People think that bigots feel low and mean and so when they say bigoted things, and feel elevated by their own bigoted remarks, they conclude that they can't be the bigot. Bigotry is like smoking. It's addictive and it feels good, and some people need that shot of feeling superior to others every day.

You can bring out your sputtering display of disdain now, call me stupid, whatever else you have in your pathetic bag of tricks.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Hatred? Don't flatter yourself with self-victimization. It sounds staler than what you'd hear from the mouth of a PC ("politically correct") college kid these days.

I have nothing against prudes. I just don't want them dictating American norms.

If you like, I could provide you with a "trigger warning" for my feeling on the undue influence of prudes. mkaythnksbye!

Drago said...

You know what was responsible for "New Coke"?

8 years of Reagan and all that came since.

It's science.

Rhythm and Balls said...
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Rhythm and Balls said...

Nope. Just the prudery. Ssssshhhhhh...! Don't tell anyone about the AIDS epidemic and the gaysex (and blood transfusions, etc) spreading it!

But Nancy, what about Rock Hudson? Ok, Ronnie. It's ok to mention it now.

It's non-science. It's social paranoia. Two things that go very well together.

n.n said...

People are rightly concerned that female chauvinists possessed ulterior motives when they conned women into becoming slut figures for the liberal arts and pornography industry.

Big Mike said...

How could it possibly amount to anything like bravery 50 years later?

Well, if they used the same actors and actresses, that would be very brave of those actors and actresses.

Quaestor said...

In 1997 I went to New York specifically to see a hometown girl make good with the now-defunct New York City Opera. She sang the much-admired role of Mimi in La bohème on the New York State Theatre stage (now the David H. Koch Theater and thus a locus of Evil). Afterwards I went out to dinner with virtually the entire cast and managed to waste so much time bar-hopping that I missed my departure time. Thus I resolved to stay a few more days and take in some shows. I saw Stanley at the Circle in the Square, The Last Night of Ballyhoo at the Helen Hayes, and The Life at the Ethel Barrymore. Four days, four shows, including the opera (How did Quaestor manage short-notice tickets for all these, you ask. Don't ask.)

Four shows, two with nudity. At least those two had some context. If you've been to the Circle in the Square you know that its a re-purposed space, and thus not a conventional theater. I sat right up front and the actress playing Patricia Preece was cavorting in the nude for almost ten minutes not five feet from me. In context it made sense because she supposed to be posing for Stanley Spencer who is painting a religious subject -- the woman taken in adultery, or something similarly biblical -- for which he gets in trouble as a accused pornographer. The Life was virtually a strip show with singing, but it too had some context for the nudity. It's about the hookers, strippers, and pimps of 42nd Street before Giuliani took a mop to the place. (I remember walking to a Times Square ticket agency back in the Dinkins era and being approached several times by strippers who wanted to give a "free pass" to some topless club. Dinkins didn't give a shit; all he cared about was the next hat. Rudy got rid of 'em some how.) Actually I think The Life could have used more T&A. I found it tediously plotted, and the songs were just not tuneful -- no budding Jerome Kern was involved. I only invested the day and the money because of a recommendation from a NYC Opera Company designer who said "Five Tonys!"

Real courage moves me to tears. Nudity mostly bores me.

Quaestor said...

But then, it wouldn't be nice to assume the same level of body comfort of those who inhabit the land of cheese and human blubber.

Rhythm and Balls -- always classy. But what class I'll leave to the imagination.

Robert Cook said...

While I am not a prude and certainly not averse to appraising the aesthetic charms of beautiful female bodies, I concluded years ago that nudity and simulated sex in movies--and, I suppose, even moreso in live theater--is destructive of the imaginative "dream" that one enters into to enjoy the drama being enacted before you. It yanks you back into thoughts of what this performer or that one looks like naked, whether the simulated sex seems natural and real or phony and overly theatrical, etc. But, mostly teh nekkid.

It's almost always a cheap gimmick, where fading out and fading in to sometime after the deed has been done--and not displaying the bodies of the actors for titillation--is much more effective in maintaining audience involvement in the dramatic dream. Each viewer can imagine for themselves--if they wish--what went on between the two actors. At the very least, we can know they "did it."

Quaestor said...

Courage is proportional to risk. Nude actresses risk nothing much more than a chill.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's not about excitement necessarily. It's about reality. Many people are as boring in the nude as they are clothed.

Was Ronnie Reagan holding out on the Great AIDS Criss story for fear of undue boredom? I don't think so.

In any event, highbrow nude theater sounds boring. The only thing close to it I saw was a 1970s vampiric erotic topless rock musical called Bite - in Los Vegas, not New York. I'm not really much a fan of performance arts anyway. But that one was fun. If you're going to mix together nudity with a bunch of other elements, it sounds like that's the right way to do it. There are already a proliferation of vampire-based media in the culture anyway, barely concealing their eroticism - some more successfully than others. There must be something to it.

I have a feeling Professor's folk hero Camille Paglia would have agreed.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Courage is proportional to risk. Nude actresses risk nothing much more than a chill.

Reputational risk. Due to overly cerebral, psychological eunuchs like you who always have to either judge or figure out an endless degree of rationalization for justifying the naturalness. As if being natural should require rationalization.

The fact that you think chilly is the default temperature around a nude body says more than a bit about your relationship to these things.

Rhythm and Balls said...

But what class I'll leave to the imagination.

You tell me, Party of Trump apparatchik.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Buckley, like Quaestor, found sex boring.

Money is exciting. Keep the lower classes in thrall to our party with dreams of unlikely successful entrepreneurship.

This is how we keep our lower class loyal to us.

Sex is bad. Chase money instead. Especially if you're not making too much of it.

Rhythm and Balls said...
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Rhythm and Balls said...

Sounds like you watch too much Hollywood and not enough Showtime, Mr. Cook. Interesting use of the phrase "yanking around," in this context.

Here's a newsflash: All acting is fake. But I find it amusing that some people find that nudity makes it extra-special fake.

This isn't just a criticism of the observer, though. America has problems with both love and sex generally, thereby impacting the performance.

Detracts from the money angle.

Quaestor said...

Nude actors risk an empty house, or ought to if good taste and a mature sense of humor has value. Take for example The Puppetry of the Penis — two uninteresting Aussies playing with their dicks while a houseful of neuron-deprived women shriek and applaud. It's a goddamn gender-reversed carnival sideshow with one, count 'em, one joke. They stage that monstrosity with the house lights up so the women can watch each other react, which is a HUGE tell.

The performers are pretty typical Queensland surfer dudes, which makes one pity the sharks going hungry.

Quaestor said...

You tell me, Party of Trump apparatchik.

Is there one beneath prole?

Rhythm and Balls said...

"(A) mature sense of humor?"

Right there you just proved that your understanding of comedy is probably about as thin as your understanding of sex.

Look, all art, including all new scripts or shows, are a risk.

Best to not confuse that fact with your aversion to the human form.

Rhythm and Balls said...

"(N)euron-deprived women?"

Penis-deprived women is more like it.

Or maybe they were women who had enough penis, but it was penis attached to humorless social climbers like Quaestor.

No woman wants to have sex (or anything remotely resembling it) with a man who's mentally calculating a quarterly earnings report. Or whatever it is that supposedly makes him better than a "prole". She wants to the sex to be as natural as it is for Quaestor to make it unnatural.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Quaestor - do you intend on procreating at any time in the future?

Have you ever considered your own phallectomy?

It might make things less distracting for you.

clint said...

The little-known collorary to George Santayana's famous aphorism:

- Those who forget the past get to believe they are heroic trailblazers without having to leave the safety of their own backyard.

n.n said...

Pornography is progressive, but nudity is ultra conservative. Prehistoric stuff, really. It was fashionable in our great, great, great, ... ape's time. Progress is so regressive.

el polacko said...

amusingly telling that the althouse crew gets into an argument over the merits of naked women in entertainment when the subject of the article is a MAN who begins the play in his undies.

el polacko said...

p.s. if our hostess finds it so unbelievable that it requires some degree of "fearlessness" to step onto a stage in your underwear, i invite her to post a full-body pic of herself here wearing nothing but her panties...unless she's too scared to do it.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Rhythm and Balls said...
Nudity on Broadway was a thing back in the 60s when "Hair" happened. How could it possibly amount to anything like bravery 60 years later?

"Eight years of Reagan and all that came since."

Oh yes, the 80's- That era of puritanism known as the American Victorian Era, when public nudity was banned, sex only occurred between married couples, and chastity belts were mandatory.

Rhythm and Balls said...
"Was Ronnie Reagan holding out on the Great AIDS Criss story for fear of undue boredom? I don't think so."

So Reagan kept the AIDS epidemic secret huh? I seem to remember lots of news and lots of talk about the AIDS epidemic at that time. At one point AIDS was on the cover of Time magazine, in the '80's... But that Reagan, he kept it all a big secret, cause he liked to see people die- Republican!!!!!!

Eric said...

You can rest assured that if ticket sales seem to be lagging "nearly" will become "completely."

tim maguire said...

It reminds me of the NYT obituary for some literary dame whose name didn't stick as well as the Times' description of her. She was credited with having a fearless iconoclastic turn of mnd. She supported abortion, women's rights, gay rights, and a number of other things that are oh so fearless and iconoclastic for someone living on Manhattan's upper west side.

tim maguire said...

Wow, R&B is needing an awful lot of posts to show how thoroughly he missed the point. Althouse is not criticizing the actor for being nearly nude, she is criticizng the reviewer for describing it as brave.

tim in vermont said...

Hatred? Don't flatter yourself with self-victimization. It sounds staler than what you'd hear from the mouth of a PC ("politically correct") college kid these days. -R&B

Right, hatred is what other people feel, people on the right, fat people, people from the Midwest. What you feel is not hatred, that would feel low and mean, right? What you feel is a much higher and more refined emotion, an emotion that makes you feel good, so it couldn't be hatred, even though you do a pretty good impression of it to outsiders. Your need to make unprovoked insults is just driven by your moral duty to project your obvious superiority, and educate us troglodytes who aren't as smart as you.

My apologies.

tim in vermont said...

Wow, R&B is needing an awful lot of posts to show how thoroughly he missed the point. Althouse is not criticizing the actor for being nearly nude, she is criticizng the reviewer for describing it as brave.

No, R&B knows how people in flyover country really think. If what Althouse wrote doesn't match what he believes she thinks, then the answer is obvious that being so stupid, Althouse is not a good enough writer to accurately express herself to boot! R&B is playing 3D chess and the rest of us are playing checkers, you see.

Robert Cook said...

"Here's a newsflash: All acting is fake. But I find it amusing that some people find that nudity makes it extra-special fake."


You exactly miss my point. I'm saying that nudity removes us from the dramatic dream as we're suddenly confronted with--not the character's nudity--but the specific actor's nudity. It's jarring to one's contemplation of the drama being enacted when noticing Kate Winslet's naked bum or breasts, or Harvey Keitel's penis. If you don't think this is what most people see when confronted with any actor's nudity, you're kidding yourself. Yes, acting is fake, but nudity is too real.

CWJ said...

clint won the thread last night.

So true. Courage has been defined down to congratulatory approval. For years after acquiring a new artistic director, the KC Rep billed utself as "fearless theatre" right down to answering the phone with the phrase. Having seen theatre nudity in Fort Wayne, Indiana of all places twenty years ago, I think R&B's image of midwestern prudery exists ony internally.

dbp said...

There is no courage in show producers' doing shows with nudity now that it has been done for 50 years. Actors, even if they are attractive, are still brave to perform in front of a bunch of strangers. It would be terrifying to do it clothed, even worse naked. Hell, there is a whole genre for nightmares involving public nudity.

southcentralpa said...

True courage was Kathy Bates doing nudity in "About Schmidt".